So close you can touch it – 32 North Brewing Company

December 6, 2016

I know who brewed my beer.

– Popular San Diego Saying


It’s 7 PM. Do you know who brewed your beer?


If you’re a regular at 32 North Brewing Co., chances are the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

 

Moniker General Taproom, photo courtesy of www.32northbrew.com


“People can come here and literally see the tanks that the beer is brewed in,” explains Steve Peterson, founder of 32 North Brewing. “They see our brewers who are walking around. So it’s really more of the side of craft beer that people love. It’s kind of what sets us apart from the big guys.”

 

Miramar Taproom, photo courtesy of www.32northbrew.com


Certainly the big guys can’t compete with the sensory experiences found at a small brewery. And they don’t offer a 2,400-square foot space for their customers to sip beer as they while away the time. “People can actually be in the place where they brew the beer,” says Steve. “People love that. I love it.”


Having just celebrated its second anniversary, Steve looks forward to becoming a bigger little guy in San Diego’s booming craft beer industry. “We opened up in October 2014,” says Steve. “We had one or two beers that were doing really well and that were pretty unique in town like our Landfall. But we didn’t know the industry super well. We didn’t have all the connections that a lot of breweries now have. We were figuring our way around.”


All that “figuring” paid off. “Fast forward to maybe five months ago,” Steve continues. “We totally pulled a big time 180, and have been growing pretty quick since then.”

 

Miramar Taproom, photo courtesy of www.32northbrew.com


Steve attributes the company’s growth to bringing in talented and savvy people, and to an uncompromising focus on what mattered most: the beer. “We have a totally different beer setup.” explains Steve. “The beers are all different. We’re going to a lot more Stouts, Maple Reds, Russian Imperial Stouts, barrel aged. Even though we’re doing a lot of our core beers, we’re able to have a good amount of specialties on our list. So, yeah, it’s been fun so far.”


It wasn’t too long ago when Steve’s idea of fun was to play baseball. “Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a professional baseball player.” As is often the case, Steve soon ran into a curveball. “Obviously, the baseball didn’t work out.”


After college, Steve was able to give a sober assessment of San Diego’s beer industry. “I discovered that San Diego has this booming craft beer culture that I didn’t really know about.”


With a little help from his friends, Steve made up for lost time and learned about the beer that was making San Diego famous. “I realized this is something I’m pretty passionate about. Maybe it’s a beer restaurant that I’m talking about. More like with a craft beer focus.”

 

Miramar Taproom, photo courtesy of www.32northbrew.com


The restaurant idea soon gave way to beer only. “I realized I don’t care so much about food. I care a hell of a lot more about the beer side now.” All that remained was for Steve to sign the lease. “I was 24 at the time. I don’t know why our landlord gave us the lease. A 24-year-old walking into an 8,000 square foot space. But May 2014 we signed the lease.”


As more and more patrons make his brewery their go-to destination, it’s clear that the brewery is popular for a lot more than its beer offerings. “The brewery is super important,” explains Steve. “What I’m seeing is a community being found. People hanging out, telling their story over beers.”


And just how good is that beer? “We have truly awesome beer,” says Steve proudly. “It’s hard to have beer stand out and be different in San Diego now. But our beer is standing out because it’s top notch. It really is a world class beer now.”


Naming beers is its own sweet science. And 32 North Brewing seems to be working overtime to come up with catchy, inventive names. Here’s a sampler: “Hello Darkness (credit Steve for that one), Running with Scissors (assistant brewer), Death of a Brewer (head brewer), Pilsner the Conqueror (Steve’s Dad). “We spend a lot of time trying to come up with them,” explains Steve. “We come up with a lot of names that we like, but it has to fit the brand feel.”


Of course, no matter how good the name, you can’t drink a name. “A lot of our beer names kind of jump off the page a little bit,” says Steve. “People see it and say that’s an awesome name, and say, yeah, let’s go for it. And they love the beer, then buy it again because of the quality of the beer.”

 

Miramar Taproom, photo courtesy of www.32northbrew.com


Clearly, San Diegans not only know who brews their beer, they know their beer, and continue to frequent the many craft breweries in town. Steve offers only praise for his competitors. “We’re all rooting for each other to do well.” So there seems to be room for everyone. Well, almost everyone. “We don’t want there to be room for Bud Light,” jokes Steve.


Yet, no matter where else the beer may be found, 32 North Brewing patrons will flock to the brewery to seek out its comforts. There they’ll root, root, root for the home team, waiting for Mighty Steve to step up to the plate, certain he’ll hit another one out of the park.

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